I recently found myself acting like a 6 year old, and not in a run-around-the-yard-barefoot, happy-go-lucky kind of way. It was more of a “but-you-started-it” shouting match kind of way. Needless to say, it wasn’t my proudest parenting moment. by Molly Mills 2 min read

We often ask parents to role model conflict as an opportunity for change. Kim O’Malley, Girls Leadership’s Senior Educator for Colorado, shares how she used 4 Steps for Healthy Conflict, a powerful tool from our Parent & Daughter Workshop curriculum to resolve a conflict in her home. Dear Dishwasher, We have to talk. Your relentless need for …

What Can Parents Do About Mean Girl Behavior?

In Part 2 of 2 of her series on bullying, Samantha Parent Walravens provides pathways to discuss Mean Girl behavior with your teen girl, and steps to take if bullying is happening.

As a parent, what should you do if you suspect that your daughter is being bullied by a mean girl?

1. Get the facts. Find out what’s happening, who’s doing it, how long it’s been going on, and if the teacher knows.
2. Make sure your child knows that it’s not her fault.
3. Talk about ways of responding to mean girls’ behavior. Role-play with her, acting out the different scenarios she might encounter.
4. Encourage her to get involved in activities that focus on her talents and interests, especially activities outside of school and even outside of town. This will help her form new friendships outside of the “cliques” and put her with kids who share common interests. It may help your child realize that the mean girls are not “all that.”
5. Tell her your own story if you were bullied as a child (and most of us were, in some way). What did you do in response? Did it work?

What Motivates Mean Girl Behavior?

Samantha Parent Walravens gets to the heart of the “Mean Girl” culture, so that we can effectively address it. Instead of merely demonizing the behavior, understanding the motivations can be a first step to stopping it.

Our culture is fascinated with the image of the mean girl. Reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of New York, The Jersey Shore, and The Hills feature real-life mean girls in action — publicly humiliating and spreading nasty rumors about each other, pitting friend against friend, excluding or rejecting former friends, and even engaging in physical aggression.

Mean Girls in Kindergarten? Are You Kidding Me?

Samantha Parent Walravens realizes how early drama can arise among young girls, especially in school.

I have four kids – my boys are 15 and 13, my girls are 9 and 5. While my boys nearly drove me into the ground as toddlers with their endless physical energy and constant running around, the girls are currently winning the race to dig me an early grave with their ongoing girl drama and emotional highs and lows.

If I had to choose, I’d take the physical exhaustion of boys over the emotional exhaustion of girls ANY DAY.

I wasn’t expecting the girl drama to start at such a young age, however. This morning, my 5-year-old stopped me at the door of her Kindergarten classroom with tears running down her chubby little cheeks. She told me that she was scared to go to school, that her friends weren’t being nice, and that she wanted to go home.

Mothers’ Leadership: Confidence, Conflict Resolution, and Coffee at 3AM

Mothers are the number one influencers of girls’ leadership ambitions. At GLI, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day and honoring mothers by sharing their stories of personal and professional leadership. In this piece, mother Stacy Peña shares her thoughts on confidence, conflict resolution, and what being the face of leadership means to her.

No one likes conflict. Not the young, not the old. Women in particular learn at a young age to please, and to make nice with those who disagree with us. When the naysayers argue loudly, we learn that if we don’t want to give in, then we had better sidestep them quietly. We’d better stay …

Hi Ms. Starr,

I have a beautiful 8-year-old that goes to a full gifted third grade. She is sweet, smart, and pretty, but has some troubles with making friends in her class. It is a class with eleven girls and two groups: the cool girls who are mean to everybody but popular, and the nerdy ones. My daughter says she just wants a best friend or to be in a group, but she does not identify with any of the groups. Additionally, two girls in the cool group are especially mean and rude to her. She says she does not want to go to school because she does not like to be in a place where they treat her badly. She also says she does not know how to stand up for herself when they shout or are rude to her. She does not want to ask a classmate for help because she is afraid they will call her a nerd. Please give some advice on how to help her deal with these issues.

Thank you so much,

Daughter In Distress

Dear Daughter In Distress,

Although your daughter is in a full gifted class, her trouble making friends is, in my estimation, 100% normal.

Elementary school can be a particularly challenging time for girls socially. All girls must find their way through the often harsh and confusing terrain that is “girl world.” Girls will do or be almost anything in order to not lose a friend or feel rejected by others. They will hide their feelings, try to make themselves smaller and quieter, and even put up with being called mean names and excluded by their classmates or so-called “friends.”

Dear Ms. Starr,

People tease me a lot. More boys than girls, and I’ve started thinking it’s because I’m more easy to tease than other people. I hide my feelings at first, but then when I get frustrated, my feelings burst out. I’ve had people call me names. My mom thinks it’s because I’m an only child and I don’t have a lot of practice standing up for myself. I am in the 4th grade, and I used to go to private school. It was quieter there and easier to be in control. Also, the boys weren’t so exasperating.

How do I become less easy to tease?

~ Tired Of Being Teased

Dear Tired Of Being Teased,

Thanks so much for your brave question. I am so sorry to hear that you’re being teased at school.

Whether or not we are used to it, it always hurts when others make fun of us or call us names. I think every girl on planet Earth knows how frustrating, embarrassing, and sad it feels to be teased by others.